ALL CITY of San antonio department NEWS

Department News

Communications and Public Affairs: 207-7234
Published on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Too many babies dying, many born too small and too soon

The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) and the Healthy Families Network will join 18 other cities across the nation on Sat. Sept. 21 as hosts of the annual Baby Buggy Walk in the Park, a free one-mile fitness walk and health fair at Southside Lions Park.

The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a presentation on the decreasing rates in infant mortality and new initiatives by the Healthy Families Network, including the launch of a new website, aimed at encouraging prenatal care early in pregnancy.

The presentation will be followed by a balloon release to mark the pregnancy and infant losses. Individuals affected by infant mortality. Congressman Lloyd Doggett will serve as the grand marshal of the walk. Following the walk, a health fair until noon will feature a children’s fun zone, free healthy snacks and family fitness activities. To register for the Baby Buggy Walk in the Park, visit or call 210-207-4725.

Infant Mortality in Bexar County has declined, dropping from 6.2 deaths in 1,000 live births in 2010 to 4.8 per 1,000 in 2011, the lowest rate recorded since the Healthy Start Program began in 2001 and well below the 2011 State of Texas rate of 5.7 per 1,000.

While the infant mortality rate is declining overall across the nation and in Texas, rates still remain high in minority populations, particularly among Hispanic and African American residents of Bexar County. In 2011, black infants in Bexar County had a mortality rate of 6.14 deaths per 1,000 live births – a significant drop from the 2010 rate of 10.8 but still higher than the national average for all races of 6.05 (preliminary rates ). Deaths due to stillbirths are not included in the infant mortality rate. However, studying pregnancy loss is very important in addressing these tragic losses.

"Our goal is to spread the word that planning for a healthy baby begins long before the parents see her baby's face for the very first time," said Kelly Bellinger, Program Manager for Metro Health’s Healthy Start program. "Early and continuous prenatal care, healthy eating, physical activity, a healthy lifestyle, and family and community support are all crucial to ensuring that our youngest and most vulnerable have a healthy start in life."

Sponsors of this year’s event in San Antonio include Walgreens and the San Antonio Talons Football Team. The event is endorsed by the Mayor’s Fitness Council and is a Parks and Recreation FitPass designated event.

Metro Health’s Healthy Start program seeks to reduce infant mortality in Bexar County with free home visiting services and community education in the most affected areas. Healthy Start launched the Healthy Families Network coalition of community partners in December 2011 to address infant mortality through several initiatives including awareness events like the Baby Buggy Walk in the Park and new website,


Carol Schliesinger, Public Relations Manager · 210.207.8172

Categories: Health